Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Being outside, especially in a country with weather as unpredictable as here, requires certain specialty apparel. One of the most essential pieces of clothing to own is a windbreaker. Knowing how to choose the right one, however, can be complicated, as not all of them provide adequate protection from the elements.

You need to know how to go about selecting an appropriate one if you want to be able to go outside when its windy and rainy while staying dry and warm. This is why we have put together the below guide to understanding and buying windbreakers. After reading through it you will have all the information you need to make a confident decision.


  • Windbreakers are outdoor gear made to stand up to any weather conditions. Jackets that don’t actually protect against wind and water aren’t worth your time.
  • You might need to keep it on for many hours at a time, which is why you want something that is going to maximize your comfort.
  • A windbreaker’s material is of the utmost importance. If you quality, wind and rain-proof material if you are going to get a lot of use out of your purchase.

The best windbreakers: Our Picks

In the following section, we’ll introduce you to the very best windbreakers available right now on the market. Along with each option we have included the specific product details of each to ensure you have all the information you need to get something great.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about windbreakers

There are several important features of windbreakers to keep in mind before buying one. Throughout the below section we have laid out the most important of these and gone into detail, so you can be confident you’re making an informed decision. We have also addressed some of the most common consumer queries and questions surrounding these products.

Man choosing winter clothes in the sports shop

Windbreaker jackets are specifically designed to fight against the harshness of weather. (Source: Olena Kachmar: 115290212/

What is a windbreaker exactly?

A windbreaker is made specifically to help protect you from wind and rain while outdoors. The original name “windbreaker” just implied wind protection, but most good modern products are also waterproof.

It is an ideal jacket if you are someone who likes things like hiking, climbing, mountain biking, or just taking walks all year round. Many are light enough to be great pieces of clothing for runners and joggers too.

How do windbreakers actually work?

A windbreaker is a lightweight, breathable, water and wind-proof jacket that you either zip up or pull over when you are going out into uncertain weather conditions. They don’t make you impervious to any weather condition, but up to certain levels of cold and wetness, they keep you dry, warm, and comfortable.

Most good windbreakers do two main things. The first thing they do is protect you from the rain and col. The second thing they do is, via a specialized inner layer, help get rid of perspiration and humidity so you are always at a comfortable temperature while wearing one.

Couple trekking through the rain in the Highlands

Most windbreakers will not only protect you from the wind, but also from the rain. (Source: rawpixel: 116614882/

What are the main features of windbreakers?

These jackets are made to stand up to windy and rainy weather conditions, and good ones have a number of important features in common. In the below table we have laid out these features and why they are important:

  • Light weight: A good windbreaker should be lightweight and hardly noticeable. They are made to be more comfortable and flexible than traditional, bulkier rain coats.
  • Comfort: A windbreaker should be easy to take on and off, as well as carry. Many are made to fold up and be stuffed into a kangaroo pocket or side pocket so that they become almost pocket-size when not in use.
  • Great variety: Windbreakers are customisable based on the day. Some have detachable hoods and sleeves that can be removed when the weather conditions change.
  • Diversity of use: Windbreakers are suited for a wide range of conditions and purposes. Many look great even when it is not windy or rainy out. They are easy to throw on if you are just going for a quick walk to the store, or if you’re going for an all-day hike.

What isn’t a windbreaker?

While it should be obvious that a windbreaker is intended to keep you out of the wind, there are some differences between these garments and other weather-dependent clothing. A raincoat, for instance, is different in its functionality. While many, if not most windbreakers are made to be waterproof to a degree, they are not made to stand up to torrential downpours like rain jackets are.

They are also not coats. Some have added lining to keep you warm, but most are not made to stand up to the harsh cold in the way that larger coats are.

Friends standing by the riverside in the Highlands

This piece of clothing is ideal if you regularly practice mountain sports such as hiking or climbing. (Source: rawpixel: 116719097/

Why should I choose a windbreaker with flexible fabrics and seams?

One of the quintessential features of a windbreaker is its flexibility and light weight. In order to get the full benefits of this type of jacket, you need to make sure to get the right size. If you get an oversize one, it might end up letting in wind and rain. If you get one that is too small for you, it can restrict your movement. The flexibility of a windbreaker’s fabric and seams are two important considerations.

A waterproof windbreaker is a necessity if you are going to be doing any outdoor activity far from civilization. They can be a real lifesaver when you’re kilometres from the closest shelter and it starts to really come down. They can also keep you warm during milder winter weather to help ward off hypothermia.

 happy couple hiking enjoying looking at view embracing in love. hiker man and woman wearing backpacks enjoying sunset during hike on mountain volcano teide, tenerife, canary islands, spain.

Designed to fight wind and rain alike, these jackets present a number of essential characteristics. (Source: maridav: 25960982/

Why should I opt for a waterproof windbreaker?

You need a waterproof windbreaker if it is going to serve you well in the many adverse weather conditions. If you don’t get something waterproof, especially, for instance, if you live on the rainy West Coast, there isn’t much point to having one at all. Most athletes wear waterproof wind breakers when exercising outside during the winter.

What types of windbreakers are available out there?

There are generally two main categories of windbreaker. Both have a tight fit to the body, and their water resistance will never match that of traditional raincoats. They are therefore not ideal for long work or training sessions.

Let’s now have a look at the two main types of windbreakers based on running – the sport that most people use them for:

  • Windbreakers for running: As is evident from the name, these are tailor-made for running. They are also suitable for other sports like soccer and basketball, where you will definitely need flexible clothing. They are great for sessions of two hours or less, and are a must have if you are training outdoors in the rain.
  • Windbreakers for trail running: Trail running is running or jogging on any uneven terrain in parks, on mountains, or even in urban areas. Hiking and trekking both require a good quality windbreaker.

Why buy a windbreaker?

There are many good reasons to own a windbreaker. Many of their characteristics make them fundamental for any person who wants to still get out and enjoy the outdoors even when it’s windy and raining. Below are a couple more reasons to consider if you still aren’t quite sure about a new windbreaker:

  • They improve training performance: If you are serious about training, the ideal training conditions are those in which there are few to no extreme temperature changes. These garments are lightweight enough that they won’t restrict your movements, while still protecting you from things like hypothermia and keeping your muscles warm and comfortable.
  • They are durable: A good windbreaker is tough and, provided you look after it well, it should last many years.
  • They can be used as informal clothing: Modern windbreakers don’t just do their job well, they also look great and can be worn casually.

What are the main advantages and disadvantages of windbreakers?

At this point, you have pretty much all of the necessary information to get yourself an appropriate windbreaker. In the below table we will go over some of the primary pros and cons of windbreakers to keep in mind before you buy one:

  • Ideal for running
  • They maximise sports performance
  • They can be utilized for a variety of sports
  • The easily combine with other garments
  • They are quite durable
  • They aren”t thermal garments
  • They won”t protect you from torrential downpours

Shopping Criteria

There are several key features of a windbreaker to keep in mind when buying one. In the below section, we will delve into the most important of these criteria you need to have in mind when buying anything. This will ensure you are getting the right jacket for you, that meets your needs and goals.


Quality is probably the most important aspect if you want your windbreaker to be both functional and durable. You could skimp on quality and save a few dollars, but you might regret it when you need your windbreaker to come through for you most. You might end up spending more as you will likely have to replace a poor quality one much sooner.


Most good windbreakers are 100 per cent polyester. The also tend to be fortified with polyamide to augment tear resistance. Having a robust, and resistant windbreaker is key. Many models also feature things like elastance and other fabrics that make them better fitting.

These style of windbreaker are ideally suited to those who prefer comfort to anything else. There are also other materials that are highly similar to polyester, such as nylon, that also give you great, lightweight flexibility.


Another key aspect of your new windbreaker is its style. Windbreakers are typically designed in two different styles: there are tighter-fitting options that form to your body and won’t be lifted by the wind, and which tend to shelter you a bit better. Others are more flowy and can be put on over a backpack. Make sure to get something that is best for what you are doing outdoors.

You should also make sure the windbreaker you are getting has at least one pocket, as well as a hood (detachable or otherwise). There are many windbreakers that are made to be packed up into one of the pockets, making it small and easy to take with you on the go.

Finishing touches

Whether you opt for a tight-fitting or a wide cut windbreaker, dozens of finishing details ultimately differentiate the quality of one model from another. Additional interesting features include things like elastic and Velcro cuff and wasit adjusting, removable hoods, and adjustable hood visors to better protect your face against rain, and kangaroo pockets.

Expert opinions

Only you really know if you need a windbreaker to do what you want to do outside, but most experts maintain that it is an essential piece of clothing for anyone serious about physical activities outside in the wind and rain. Having one will certainly expand the possibilities for exercise and sports all year round, and make your exercise routine less weather dependent.


A windbreaker is a must-have article of clothing if you’re someone who doesn’t want to be held back by the country’s sometimes harsh, often unpredictable weather. Athletes that can’t live without getting out and practicing their favourite sports will love the insurance against wind and rain, and people who just don’t want to get wet or cold outside will find them useful too.

There really is no outdoor garment better suited to outdoors than the windbreaker. While it is not going to protect you from the worst torrential downpours, and you certainly don’t want to rely on just this style of jacket if you plan on going out in frigid below-zero temperatures, they are great for pretty much anything else.

(Source of featured image: maridav: 35379723/